For more than 65 years British agent James Bond has been fighting enemies: communists, capitalists, nation-states, self-employed megalomaniacs and global terrorist units. While external and clearly ›visible‹ enemy others serve as productive counterfoils for constructions of Britishness, internal and ›invisible‹ enemies blur the allegedly binary opposition of Self/Enemy and complicate the series’ identity production. This comprehensive study examines the complex construction of enemy images in the Bond series, encompassing both Ian Fleming’s Bond novels and the official Bond films. Based on the theoretical framework of enemy concepts, this study relates the series’ patterns of enemy representation to Western trends of enemy perception and argues that the depiction of Bond’s enemies rests on a constant tension of visibility and invisibility. In doing so, the analysis not only reveals the shifting, mutual impact of self- and enemy-image, but also uncovers how the Bond enemy has served as an expression for changing cultural and geo-political anxieties, ranging from supposedly stable Cold War boundaries to more invisible post- 9/11 conflict lines.
Svenja Böhm is an Assistant Professor of British Cultural Studies at Ruhr-Universität Bochum. Her main research interests include popular culture and cultural constructions of London’s East End.